The Miami Marlins are “pushing hard” to obtain Oakland Athletics outfielder Ramón Laureano, according to Peter Gammons. It should be noted that Laureano is in the lineup for Thursday afternoon’s game against the Boston Red Sox, suggesting the Athletics do not feel a trade is close enough to pull him for precautionary purposes.
Laureano, 28 come mid-July, missed the onset of the season because of a suspension he received last August after testing positive for a banned substance. Since returning in early May, he has batted .242/.326/.358 (103 OPS+) with two home runs and five stolen bases (on seven tries) in 135 plate appearances. Laureano is arguably best known for making highlight-reel-worthy catches in center, though his defensive prowess has been overstated if he’s to be judged by public-facing metrics.
Still, Laureano needn’t be perfect to represent a potential upgrade for the Marlins. Manager Don Mattingly has been relying on a combination of Jesús Sánchez and Bryan De La Cruz in center field, and it’s fair to write that hasn’t worked out. Sánchez entered Thursday with a 92 OPS+, while De La Cruz has a 65 mark in that department.
Laureano would, at minimum, help the Marlins against left-handed pitching. He’s posted a .261/.345/.419 slash line against southpaws since the start of the 2020 season (as compared to a .218/.313/.383 slash line against righties). The Marlins as a team have hit for a .591 OPS against lefties this season, the worst output in the majors. (The Detroit Tigers, with a .646 OPS against lefties, rank as the second-worst.)
While there’s no guarantee a trade is completed, the Marlins pursuing any veteran in an aggressive manner is a notable development. Their 28-33 record puts them 6 ½ games out of the National League wild card picture; indeed, they’re closer to having the worst record in the league than they are to holding a playoff spot. Clearly Miami’s front office isn’t ready to throw in the towel on the season just yet.
Of course, Laureano would represent more than a short-term acquisition. He’s not scheduled to hit free agency until after the 2024 season.